Nba live 2004 has really taken a nice step this year. It seems like for the past 3 years it?fs been all about the Sega 2k Basketball series, (ESPN now). Live looks like it has stepped it up a little bit this year, and unless the ESPN game could let you finally make 3 pointers and get rebounds, live might be the game to buy.
There has defininitly been an improvement graphics wise. The main part is the animations, you can see many of them, and the court looks sharper than it did in last years, which had a little blur to it. Every player that wears certain sneakers in real life will most likely have them on in this game. All in all the graphics wont make you fall down in amazement but if you?fve been a live fan and played the last couple of titles you will notice a nice difference with this one.
This is basically where the NBA live series has failed the past couple years. Live has been known as the just get a rebound throw it down court dunk it type, and vice versa. Lives gameplay is much improved, you actually feel like you have control of what?fs going on instead of just trying to block dunks the whole time. Using the D-pad you can call different defenses like presses and things like that to set up things on the fly, easier than the last couple of years. Also the freestyle control is a pretty fun feature to take advantage of. They had this last year but it didn?ft feel as smooth. Another thing people complained about in the old NBA Live was that you just make way too many shots as well as the feel of an easier difficulty and stats were just unrealistic. This game has more sliders, game speed etc, which you can set the tone for your own game. The difficulty default is on starter?c. and you?fre not making any 3 pointers unless u got a clear shot at the basket in this game. The feel of the game is much smoother, they implemented a button to dunk and lay up separate from the shoot button which might confuse some people and make for the slightest incline in a learning curve. Once you get used to it it really wont bother you any more, and you might actually start to like it. The only thing I could find wrong with the gameplay is sometimes it studders and almost freezes for 1.2 a second which wont mess up your play, but it makes you wonder how EA sports could release a game with a problem like this.
The sound is defiantly a better part of the game than in the last couple years. They have Marv Albert and Mike Fratello as the play-by-play announcers. The crowd gets into the game a lot more by cheering and booing on the right occasions, but for some reason they don?ft stand up while they do it (think about that for 2005 EA). As for the regular music, its basically just more hip-hop/rap, nothing to really fall off your feet about, but Marv Albert and the crowd make the sound much better and make you have the feel that you?fre watching it on TV.
If you?fve been an NBA Live fan your whole life you might not like this game because it has changed, but just remember it changed for the better this year, get used to it and you?fll like it. They still have online play, which is great, you can join the broadband rooms and start a quick game right away on default settings and match up against people all over the world and watch your stats grow on www.easportsonline.com. ESPN might have to step it up just a little bit if you plan on buying both.